New Year’s dangling carrot called and it’s looking for your resolution.
It is playful to imagine the ways in which we can set ourselves apart from our realities, how we might envision a new way of living for improvement’s sake. It is thunderous to declare that we WILL make these changes, to take those powerful steps forward. Even if those steps last two months or four days or forever, it is a thunderous declaration and we all should feel welcome to have a resolution or two. Contrarily, we might naysay the predictability of these easy-to-insert resolutions. In the world of health, wellness, and yoga there is often a commentary on this idea being a fad and that we should have a way in maintaining action to be successful in change. To be truthful (and that’s where we are headed with this blog), I tend to be a naysayer.
I’d go as far to say that I am a big-hearted unconventional agent with borderline anarchistic tendencies. So, for me, following a cliché down a dark alley might actually happen, that irony might happen, because I am not fully a sceptic. Yes, I thrive on the artist side of life, the provocations it spikes but I can put aside the feeling of being annoyingly nudged by the obvious and go for change. I have tried, tried wonderfully to acquire knowledge and make changes for the sake of growth and betterment. Most of the time this doesn’t happen just because the year changes. It happens because it’s exciting to inquire and develop and persevere. We can mark our new calendars for change, we can plan that way for sure. Planning is on the same playing field as desire and they are often outnumbered by the routines of life that feed in the trials and aggravations which disrupt a good plan. Yet desire observed as truth can be a catalyst in helping us plan for growth. Which brings to me this question, can our ability to be truthful stand-in as a prescriptive resolution?
Let’s talk about Satya. Satya is a Yama in the yoga traditions, the meaning of the word is both truth and reality. Yup. Truth and reality, how they relate and how being playful with this notion of resolution can bring forth understandable change and potential growth in our lives.
Who doesn’t desire that?!
To be truthful, that is a process of empowering ourselves, of course we know that, but the
practice of existing with truth and reality as a way to be empowered is often different than choosing to feel empowered. The way I choose to feel empowered is usually in the moment, when that moment (and my response to it) is aligned. When engaging in successful communication with my partner, being able to build and sustain a posture in yoga, or when my plans line up with time succinctly, those are some experiences that come to mind when I FEEL that empowerment from my life. To enjoy that feeling, I had put forth effort, consider my desire but work with effort, to become accepting of truth as it exists for me. How we might feel is a truth, proving we are feeling that way is a reality.
Understanding that, sometimes, we might desire change is an interesting component that looks and smells a lot like that New Year’s resolution. Whether you are for resolutions or against them, we are constantly changing as humans and at times we need to change because of suffering and pain. As my good friend Omni says, “You don’t have to be pro-active, no one is left behind. Life kicks you forward too. The kicks just don’t always feel so great.”
Satya is an observational practice that happens whether we are observing it or not. Reality happens whether we are experiencing it as truth or not. And we can actually rejoice in the idea that if we are to set a goal, and know what we are working with, then perhaps we can create ways to sustain a process that is indeed fun and rich for us. It can be as exciting as it can be scary to acknowledge truth, especially if we want to change ourselves. I know for me, to be better at communication with my partner, I came to the truth that improving my listening skills would be hugely helpful, I found my reality was to humbly learn how to do this at the rusty age of 42 and to practice. And the result is it worked for me (and us), the clearer our communication, the better I (we) feel. Just like those yoga poses, a little goes a long way but it is a diligent and discerning play of patience to maintain the most foundational of shapes with ease.
“How we experience reality is critical to what we can do, to the kinds of changes we can make.” Dr. Douglas Brooks says in a lecture on Satya. This leads me back to this question I posed about truthfulness being a stand-in for a resolution. Yes! Start there. Start by replacing your resolution with experiencing reality and understanding truth. Not what you’d like it to be, not what will be the answer. Have fun with the prospects of being able to take what is true and expound on it, attempt to inform your truth with knowledge and practice observing your truth in relationship to yourself, others, and in the world.
I know this is a contradiction to say that the desire for improvement melded with truth and realty works as a resolution YET be weary of its beckoning call to be a newly designed version of yourself because everyone else is doing it, because it’s a common occurrence as we begin a new year. But it’s funny, often hilarious how contradictory reality is. It’s playful and it teases us and our relationship with it. Reality is like a sponge, it is used way more than once, left kinda dirty as it waits to do the job of (ironically) cleaning the next thing that comes along. Reality provides a certain kind of hope and truth garnishes it with a certain kind of empowerment. If we are able to hold up in the contradictions and trials of life, then we can hold up in the effort of becoming better humans as well as becoming accepting of our brokenness. Like loving our kinked up, chubby bodies, our itchy and ferocious minds, our movements through time as we
try to hold the hands of the past and future, our forever and our brief relationships with others, our capacity to jest, to not be careful, to be uncommitted, to be frightened, to hurt, to be wrong, to gander at the hurdles we set up for ourselves and to still run that race, to question authority, to be long overdue for a wicked big dose of self-love, let’s rejoice in it all.
It’s funny those truth-bombs, they are unknowing of time, they arrive when they do. I desire that as a world we can stay steady in the process as we observe reality and forge changes that are beneficial to all, not only ourselves. But we can start there, with ourselves, and we can start on January 1st…. if we like.
I learn through moving my body, and with that I keep learning the importance of patience. I’ve always moved and grooved my way through life, I like it that way. A while ago I found myself engaged with the hails and fails of being a modern day rock-n-roll woman and then somehow along came yoga, and that has made this life all the more intriguing.
My personal practice of yoga is to establish relationship with process and honesty. I hope to tend and to nurture the traditions and philosophies of yoga with grace and curiosity. In the classes I teach, I invite participants to a place where they might sustain in what is (what works for them), I choose to educate about the fortifying qualities and the alignment of yoga postures, also encourage students to better understand the fluency of their breath.
200 hour certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor & 300 hour certified with Noah Mazé and is currently involved in an in-depth training with Noah to be a certified Mazé Method instructor. My philosophy teacher is Douglas Brooks.
I have been teaching for 11 years. I have been a yoga studio owner for 7 years. Yoga on Union in downtown New Bedford is my home base, but I offer classes and workshops throughout New England.